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Directed to Self-Directed Learning: The Transition

Learning Pool Platform is going through a bit of makeover this summer and, one of the most notable (and exciting) transitions to date is the move from directed to self-directed learning.

Here, we will be discussing what the difference between the two is, why self-directed learning is becoming more compelling for organisations and, how Stream LXP (formerly Curatr) will facilitate the transition.

Directed VS Self-Directed Learning

The term ‘self directed learning’ is quite self-explanatory but, for those of you who are a little unsure, self-directed learning [SDL]  invites the learner to take responsibility of their own learning journey.

Individuals must take the initiative in determining their learning needs, constructing goals and, selecting their own learning activities to pursue these interests. Fear not – learners aren’t completely left to their own devices, trainers are still there to lend a helping hand and provide the content available to them.

This type of learning encourages the development of skills and processes more so than the consumption of endless content and end-of-gate tests.

Learners pursuing self-directed learning have complete control over the learning activities and material they engage with and, they have the ability to reflect and remark upon said learning content for example, what they have taken away from the learning experience and, how they intend to implement learnt skills in their day-to-day work routine.

This then enables trainers and Instructional Designers to observe what learners are interacting with the most, what is proving to be the most useful and have the most impact.

At the risk of stating the obvious, directed learning is fundamentally the opposite of this approach. Learners are required to complete the tasks that have been assigned to them by their trainer or Instructional Designer and, have little input on the choice of material they are exposed to.

Why is Self-Directed Learning the Better Approach?

With a variety of methods, for example, goal-based learning, that facilitate the self-directed approach as well as the ability to guide your own learning experience, self-directed learning already seems like the more appealing approach. Let’s delve a little deeper and consider some of the practical benefits of embarking upon a self-directed learning journey and, how this method not only impact learners but, their organisation as well.

The learner has complete control:

By choosing learning activities directly in line with their own interests/meet the needs of their end-goal, learners are more likely to engage with the content and therefore, take away beneficial points of interests to help better perform in their job role.

Rooted in the application of skills:

With SDL, learners are required to grasp the “how” and the “why” rather than the “what”. These acquired skills can then be utilised throughout their role for example, problem-solving, time management and communication skills.

Fosters a collaborative learning environment:

The social element of Learning Pool Platform allows learners to interact with one another throughout their learning journeys. Subjects, problems and solutions can be debated by all learners and, ultimately, this encourages learners to learn from their colleagues and peers, creating a combined knowledge throughout an organisation.

Meets individual learners needs:

SDL facilitates learning at one’s own pace. Relevance also increases because learners are motivated to learn from their own experiences while applying their newly-acquired knowledge to the job in hand.

A more convenient approach:

Through SDL, learners have the ability to learn whenever and wherever – for instance, listening to a podcast in the car, reading a short article on the train. Mobile versions of Learning Pool Platform help facilitate this possibility and, learning becomes much more manageable for learners to fit into the working week.

Overcoming the Pitfalls of SDL

Like with any learning approach, there are a few drawbacks to be mindful of when implementing the strategy into your organisations elearning environment. But, the team here at Learning Pool (formerly HT2 Labs)  have also considered these pitfalls and put a few things in place to help reduce the effects of the like.

Loss of motivation:

With this approach, learners are now accountable for their own learning and, there is a risk that learners could lose motivation to continue. To overcome this, Learning Pool Platform offers the reflection feature that encourages learners to engage with their learning content, thinking back on what they have actually learned and the benefits of the learning material from a continuing professional development point of view.

Confusion of Learners:

Left to their own devices, some learners may not know where to start, how to determine their goals or what content will be beneficial in reaching these end goals. Learning Pool Platform offers example goal lists and interests for users to choose from as well as recommended content, making it easier for learners to guide themselves along the way.

Learning Pool Platform is built upon social learning principles and, our research informs us that learners who are active in the learning process are twice as likely as their non-social counterparts to recall (and apply) their training. As the self directed learning methodology gathers momentum, we’re ensuring Learning Pool Platform stays one step ahead by further developing and adapting the features that empower learners to interact with their learning – owning their personal progress and staying motivated.

If you feel your organisation would benefit from self directed learning (and we’re betting it would), you can find out more about Learning Pool Platform via our solutions page or, you can arrange a demo.

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